Article featured on LancasterOnline.

Store and restaurant operators who need more employees could look at the county’s low unemployment rate and get discouraged.

But Naomi Young doesn’t take that view.

Young, recently hired as director of the Center for Regional Analysis, part of the Economic Development Company of Lancaster County, points out the definition of unemployed.

To be counted by the government as unemployed, a person must lack a job but be actively seeking one. It omits a person who lacks a job but is not seeking one.

There’s roughly the same number of people in each category, said Young. And that inactive pool presents an opportunity for employers.

“For every one person considered unemployed, there is another person who could be drawn into the economy by (an appealing job),” she said.

“The question is, are these wages and conditions that would entice people? They would come back into the economy under the right conditions. To me, that’s the real issue,” said Young.

Employers can get a hand with that assessment and other recruitment tasks from PA CareerLink Lancaster County.

For instance, CareerLink can review how competitive an employer’s wages and benefits are, evaluate how useful an employer’s job descriptions are and host recruitment events on behalf of employers.

CareerLink also can post job openings on the state’s Job Gateway website, screen respondents and match them to appropriate jobs.

“We want to be a partner in every way we can,” said John Nicolson, CareerLink’s director of business services.

Another service available at CareerLink is free training for eligible individuals who are CareerLink clients.

Nicolson said its hospitality training program is aimed at potential restaurant and hotel employees, among other categories. It consists of half-day sessions for about a month.

Its customer service training program is aimed at many job categories, including potential store employees. It consists of half-day sessions for 2 1/2 weeks.

Now offered twice a year, the program will be offered more frequently, starting in July, in response to increased demand from employers and jobseekers.

A third CareerLink service is job fairs for employees of businesses that are closing their doors. These give workers a head start on finding new jobs and employers a head start on finding experienced staff.

For instance, CareerLink will hold a job fair for the 196 local employees of The Bon-Ton, which is closing its Park City department store and Plaza Boulevard furniture gallery this summer. The dates of the store closings and the job fair have yet to be set.

For more information on these and other CareerLink services, visit

Young also suggests that stores and restaurants here look past the county line for potential employees.

“The fact that we have 2,000 jobs being created in Lancaster doesn’t mean we have to fill them with people who live in Lancaster. We know that labor is mobile,” she said.